Story of an Organizing Client

Lilly's Story


Lilly was an only child and only grandchild on one side of her family. Her parents found the perfect home in which to raise their daughter: a large home with plenty of play room. Lilly's parents had moved from their home from another part of the country, and some of the boxes from the move remained unopened and unpacked for decades in the basement and attic.

Over the years, Lilly and her parents were fortunate enough to travel all over the world. In these travels, they continued to collect and acquire many treasures which filled their large home and summer home. The number of items, including art, sculptures, jewelry, along with several thousand magazines, newspapers, letters, books, mail, clothing, photos and slides, continued to grow in their homes. They worked hard to acquire their things over many decades.

Lilly's grandparents owned a home and farm and had acquired keepsakes throughout their lives as well. Having lived through the Great Depression, and in addition to building their treasures from around the world, they had accumulated many newspapers, magazines, letters, receipts, and clothes.

After fifteen years of the living in the house, Lilly's mother became ill with a debilitating long-term disease. Lilly's grandfather died prior to her mother's illness and her grandmother became ill during this time period. Lilly's grandmother passed away while her mother was sick, and Lilly and her parents inherited the items from one of her grandparent's homes and the boxes and items were placed in the basement, where they sat for a decade. Her father was too involved with taking of his ill wife, so he unfortunately never got a chance to deal with the grandparent's homes. The main house, along with its contents became frozen in time.

Several years later, Lilly's mother passed away when Lilly was in college. Lilly and her father were devastated by their loss. In dealing with the loss of their wife and mother, not only were the grandparents belongings not dealt with, but their own home was left and little was done after her death. Since there was limited family, all four homes belonged to Lilly's father after the death of her grandparents and his wife. Each of the four homes remained cluttered and untouched, for many years.

My work with Lilly lasted 14 months. When Vickie first met Lilly, she was embarrassed and ashamed of her home and the other homes. She didn't like to have any friends over to her home because of the clutter. The home was filled with treasures from the past, hospital supplies from her mother, and years and years of accumulated clutter.

Vickie began to work with Lilly. Typically, they worked with a team of two or three professional organizers, along with others as needed, as they unearthed her house and other homes. Lilly was overwhelmed and, like so many people in these situations, did not know where to start this process. She went through many emotions: she learned so much about her family-her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. She found many treasures of monetary and sentimental value as a result of the de-cluttering and organizing process. She also learned quite a bit about herself and her family, what she is capable of accomplishing, and she also achieved emotional closure for herself. We moved on to the other homes in the same manner.

Here are some of things we found during the process:

  • A considerable amount of cash
  • Approximately 20,000 slides and photographs
  • Mounds and mounds of paper, including letters and junk mail
  • A large stamp and coin collection
  • Large amount of jewelry
  • Approximately 3,000 magazines
  • Several thousand books
  • Closets of used and unworn clothing and shoes


Lilly also received a significant amount of money from selling items on eBay and to an antique dealer. We filled five dumpsters and had several loads of items donated to various charities.


Lilly is now able to invite friends into her home without embarrassment, and is ready to move on with her life. After all sales and finishing up with the homes, Lilly moved to an apartment and is happy, organized, and has closure.

Here is what Lilly had to say about her experience....

"I couldn't have done this without Vickie's help. I remember the first day I met with her, and showed her around my home. She took everything in without judgment, and explained how she worked, and how I would work with her. For the next 14 months, Vickie and her team of organizers helped me immensely. We spent days on end clearing out rooms, working with haulers, and filling up dumpsters. Vickie's expertise on antiques was also extraordinarily useful - she knew who to call and connect me to in order to get the best prices for the antiques and collectable items in the house. Cleaning out these houses was a huge project, but the end result was an organized house that I could be proud of. I would recommend Vickie's services to anybody who is interested in clearing out a house, downsizing a house (and their life!), or even someone that's let their clutter get the best of them. Through the process of cleaning out my houses, Vickie became my friend and ally. She's a consummate professional, and a supportive and effective organizer!"

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Pittsburgh, PA | 412-913-0554 | vickie@organizationrules.com

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Copyright 2015. Organization Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.

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